pricing software updates

Grumbling Mike

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How does your POS software stack up when it comes to updates? Are they timely? do the discontinued moldings get removed? are they accurate? how much do they charge for the service? do you think your suppliers should offer this free of charge?

???
 

Mike Labbe

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It would be hard to know for sure, but it SEEMS LIKE the updates are timely and accurate. (I don't have any way of comparing it) When a rep tells us about a new line, we usually see the new info in the database well before the samples arrive. We run the automated (Lifesaver) update utility once per week, and it updates mat & moulding databases with base (chop cost) prices. Some weeks there are two updates, some weeks there are none.

I've seen a couple mistakes in the past, but the vendors quickly pick up on it and issue an update to correct their mistakes.

The vendor we use charges $300 per year for support, which includes access to the automated upgrade system. It goes out over the internet and does it automatically, using the software vendor as a source for the info. The various manufacturers provide updates to the software company, which converts and distributes it in a standard importable format. As for timeliness, it probably depends how quickly the moulding manufacturers get their updates to the software people.
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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Mike, it's like Mike said.


Our POS updates are only as timely and accurate as the updates provided to them by the moulding/matboard vendors. We get notice of updates almost weekly and I choose whether to download the update. Many times, I do not download the update due to the time it takes to transfer an 8MB file. There are also some manufacturers/suppliers who supply the POS vendors with updates only when requested rather that when prices or items change.

Most of the time, new items are in the POS and samples are in the rack before the distributors have them available for delivery. The new Bainbridge matboards are a prime example.

Deletions are made if we select the option to "Delete Discontinued". That option is handy for those who stock the items and cannot have the discontinued items deleted from the database until they have exhausted their stock.

Our price updates are included in the annual tech support fees which are justified. It takes some amount of labor to put the update files together for download.
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

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Originally posted by RHODY:
......As for timeliness, it probably depends how quickly the moulding manufacturers get their updates to the software people.
BINGO....Timliness and Accuracy does indeed fall under the responsibility of the vendors (typically).

Regards,

John
 

Framerguy

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I am quite satisfied with the update procedures of my FrameReady POS program.

And, as a few people already said, you can't shoot the messenger if the message hasn't gotten to him yet. There isn't a POS program on the market that can update a line of inventory that hasn't been posted yet by the suppliers. 9 times out of 10 the fault of poor or late updates lies with the manufacturers and not the POS people.

Framerguy
 

JFeig

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My N-B rep was in the shop 2 weeks ago and was impressed with the timelyness of FrameReady's data. She was getting complaints from some shops where the new mats were not being updated with another major POS system.

We tried the latest samples and they all were in the data base. She was impressed. It sometimes is the POS vendor that is sleeping at the wheel.
 

William Ross

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Yes!--The problem is with the VENDORS not sending price changes, but a bigger problem is the vendor not sending in items removed from their line.

Most vendors don't understand we don't go to the price list to look up moulding--hence if its still in the computer price list we sell it. Most vendors think they only have to send price changes not inventory changes to the POS vendors.
(FrameReady doesn't charge for this service to the vendor and it can be done with an e-mail attachment)

Question: How do we get this message to the suppliers and make them understand? I have been on this soap box for over 10 years and not much has happened to correct it.
 

Framing Goddess

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My New Jersey Moulding rep was in last week (times MUST be tough all over- I have only ordered directly from NJ once before) and when I checked prices on FrameReady, I found that they were three years old! I told him to not bother sending the new samples I ordered until someone in the office there at NJ sent a price update to FrameReady. I would not even display them until that happened.
He promised to "get right on it."
No current prices, no sales.

There's one way.

edie the nomorepricingbyhand goddess
 

William Ross

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Well manybe the "Framing Goddest" has the right answer---"no current prices--no sale of their moulding". If we all used that method the message would get home fast.
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

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Originally posted by Framing Goddess:
My New Jersey Moulding rep was in last week (times MUST be tough all over- I have only ordered directly from NJ once before) and when I checked prices on FrameReady, I found that they were three years old!......
You made me curious Edie. Although we don't use New Jersey Moulding, one feature of Specialty Soft, is that you can go to their website anytime, click on customer support, and view the last time any & all vendors made an update (price and/or inventory line items).

I checked out New Jersey Moulding, and they had their last change made to Specialty Soft on 12/06/2002. That would tend to say one of three things.... 1) The data that NJM sent to FrameReady was not current, 2) They didn't send data to FrameReady, 3) You haven't correctly downloaded the newest data from FrameReady. ;) Just identifying the possibilites here.....

No question that our industry is slow to respond to automation and technology, but more and more vendors are starting to realize the importance of this. However, a number of vendors are slow to change, because retailers are slow to change....

Remember this survey, called CMC's & POS Programs?? With 69 respondents, it shows that 67% of those (Grumblers) polled use a POS program of some sort......Industry numbers from those that sell the stuff, feel that it might be more like 20-25% of the industry. Still a major minority! :rolleyes:

John

[ 04-02-2003, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: John Ranes II, CPF, GCF ]
 

Smile with Style

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Compliments to the Goddess and her sales rep.!
When we noticed that we didn't have the December pricing for New Jersey by the end of the year, we contacted them in January... no prices arrived. :(

Then, low and behold, the Goddess and her NJ rep make a request and the prices arrive via email on the very same day as your Grumble post. ;)

Thank you Goddess!
Thank you NJ rep.!
Thank you New Jersey Moulding!

Carol Graham
SoftTouch Solutions Inc
FrameReady software
 

GUMBY GCF

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John
Remember this survey, called CMC's & POS Programs?? With 69 respondents, it shows that 67% of those (Grumblers) polled use a POS program of some sort......Industry numbers from those that sell the stuff, feel that it might be more like 20-25% of the industry. Still a major minority!
John
If we are playing the numbers game does this mean that only 1.5% of the grumblers use cmc or pos? Hummmmm. Big minority.
 

Framing Goddess

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A few years back, an "old school" moulding rep of mine told me to "make me work for you."
He was right. Any time I have had any issue with a product that I was selling, I always called the rep to get their help first... worked like a charm.

I just downloaded the brand new updated New Jersey price list from FrameReady's site. I predict that the samples will be arriving momentarily.

The Goddess is pleased.

edie the itdoesnttakemuchtomakemehappy goddess

ps, Thank you, Carol!
 

Peter Bowe

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I am also subscribing to the "no current prices no sales" school of vendor relations. I would also love to see supplier web sites that show discontinued items in a timely fashion(hint, hint N-B). I dream of the day when the 54" of binders over my desk can replaced with digital info.

Peter Bowe
Saline Picture Frame Co.
 

Mike Labbe

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bumped up this old interesting thread for new folks
 

David Waldmann

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Originally posted by Bill Ross:
Yes!--The problem is with the VENDORS not sending price changes, but a bigger problem is the vendor not sending in items removed from their line.
None of the POS companies we send data to have a way to provide a "deleted items" list. All they want is a list of all current items. It is up to them to figure out how to adjust, tag, or whatever, the difference between old and new lists to come up with discontinueds. As Rick said "Deletions are made if we select the option to 'Delete Discontinued'." That would indicate that his POS at least has a way of taking care of the problem.
 

Mike Labbe

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From what I understand, there is no standard format that the mat & moulding vendors use for submitting these updates to the software vendors. Each company does it in a unique way and its up to the programmer to make sense of it all every month.

Vendors: Would there be any interest in a set of rules to standardize this process, to minimize errors and make it more streamlined? (file structure/layout of fields submitted)

If so, we can work it out here and submit it to all parties for review/revision. If not, then we can leave it alone
 

John Ranes II CPF GCF

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Originally posted by David N Waldmann:
....None of the POS companies we send data to have a way to provide a "deleted items" list. All they want is a list of all current items. It is up to them to figure out how to adjust, tag, or whatever, the difference between old and new lists to come up with discontinueds. As Rick said "Deletions are made if we select the option to 'Delete Discontinued'." That would indicate that his POS at least has a way of taking care of the problem.
David,

Rick uses the same POS software that we use, Specialty Soft and they do provide the ability to print recently deleted and recently added list from any vendor following a price update. I would assume that they can only offer this service if the vendor is supplying the information.

The burden does fall on the vendors, and sometimes they slip. A good example was the recent launch of Nielsen metal profiles. They were not in our database. A quick review of the SpecialtySoft weekly Friday vendor update emails, revealed that they had not sent the information to SpecialtySoft.
It happens.

BTW - That is a feature of SpecialtySoft that I do like.....the weekly vendor update, listing who's data has changed. If none of our vendors are listed, then we know that a download is NOT necessary.

Regards,

John
 

WizSteve

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From what I understand, there is no standard format that the mat & moulding vendors use for submitting these updates to the software vendors. Each company does it in a unique way and its up to the programmer to make sense of it all every month.
And not just mat and mouldings... art and other materials too.

I think a large part of the problem is that many vendors would have a difficult time adopting to a standard - a lot of companies don't have a large IT resource. So most POS companies develop their own system for change management, which becomes a competitive advantage since this task is non-trivial. Enabling a standard would level the playing field a bit.

On the other hand, history show us that implementing standards always fosters growth and innovation by freeing man-hours spent on just maintenance. But I think here it would take a neutral third-party or organization with enough clout to force an industry-wide change. PPFA? FACTS? I don't know. But the problem is just going to get worse.

I'd also be interested to hear about what programs mat and moulding vendors are using to manage their inventory. Home grown solutions? Customized off-the-shelf packages?
 

David Waldmann

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Originally posted by John Ranes II, CPF, GCF:
Rick uses the same POS software that we use, Specialty Soft and they do provide the ability to print recently deleted and recently added list from any vendor following a price update. I would assume that they can only offer this service if the vendor is supplying the information.
I send them our entire current list of products and prices - I don't know what they do with it. I would assume that they make a comparison and make up their own recently added/deleted as a service to their customers. Maybe those companies that have a much larger selection than we do (we only have a total of about 600 SKUs) do supply only partial updates, but the instructions I have received from all the software companies we deal with don't mention it.

Originally posted by Mike-L@GTP
Vendors: Would there be any interest in a set of rules to standardize this process, to minimize errors and make it more streamlined? (file structure/layout of fields submitted)
It certainly would. What I do is make a master file that has all the fields needed, and then delete the ones that aren't wanted and arrange them in the required order for each particular company. I haven't had a problem with mistakes (as far as I know) it's just a hassle - we only deal with five different ones and it takes me most of a day to put it all together.

Originally posted by WizSteve:
I'd also be interested to hear about what programs mat and moulding vendors are using to manage their inventory. Home grown solutions? Customized off-the-shelf packages?
We use DBA Software, an application targeted at relatively small manufacturers (less than 100 computer terminals!) that don't want to spend the money on MAS90 et al. While it really should be customized for moulding distribution, we do manage to make it work in the standard configuration. We also use Crystal Reports to analyze the data from DBA to determine trends, restocking levels, etc.
 
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